On Societies

Talk about Societies in general that doesn't relate specifically to any particular existing Society.
Post Reply
User avatar
Rias
DEV
Posts: 1617
https://twitter.com/dm_kuchnie
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:06 pm
Location: Wandering Temicotli

On Societies

Post by Rias »

I'm very excited about Societies and they're getting closer and closer! I thought I'd take a moment (looking back after finishing writing this up: a very long moment, apparently) to set some expectations.

Phase 1 for Societies (which is not happening yet) will be very sparse, and will include little (if any) more than:

- The ability to join a Society
- Access to the Society headquarters/facility area
- Maybe a few shops that sell some flavored gear and/or prop items

Even without tasks and such, It's my hope that the initial release of Societies will provide some direction and motivation for players who have characters that would fit well in these Societies.

Societies will not be offering hefty suites of abilities and should not be seen as some kind of secondary class or minmaxing opportunity. They *will* offer some abilities, however. The goal is to refrain from any of these being considered make-or-break abilities for any particular class or build. Societies aren't there to teach their members how to do the job they need done, they're there to recruit people who already have the right skills to support their cause. One's Guild is where they get their core training and abilities, and one's Society (if any) is where they can choose to apply their training and abilities to a particularly focused or dedicated cause.

I don't want Societies to feel like a requirement for every character. I imagine we'll have plenty of characters who go without a Society. The goal is to eventually have enough abilities for each Guild class that it's perfectly viable (and in some cases preferable) to not spend any ability points on Society abilities for a character.

I also want to say that we frankly cannot make so many Societies that there is a right one for every character. As a single developer and very small GM team running what is ultimately an unpaid hobby project MUD, there's no feasible way that this could be accomplished. I know that not everyone will find one of these Societies that they're interested in, and while I wish we could make sure there was one for everyone, it's just not realistic. Again, the desire is for Societies to be considered non-essential for a character, and for non-Society characters to be just as viable as those who do join a Society.

The Society list is looking like:

- Wyrvardn: Protectors of the people with a code of honor and behavior. They have a particular focus in standing up against the bad apples of their fellow man - bandits, highwaymen, Liberi, aggressive cultists, etc. They have a side-purpose that is learning more about the history and fall of Aetgard, but this is a side gig - members should be joining for the primary purpose of the protectors-of-the-people cause (even if they do so indirectly via support instead of directly engaging in combat themselves). If the sole interest is the history aspect, it would be best to form or join a Company dedicated to that, and then work to ally that Company with the Wyrvardn so they can cooperate in such matters.

- Tse Gaiyan: They're concerned about all things resen (infested). Their members are expected to support the fight against the rampant resen-infestation out there. (Again, directly or indirectly - supplying gear or providing physicker services or things like that count even if that character isn't personally gearing up to go fight the rampant infested or chop up spreading steamstalks.) They're also generally interested in studying the resen condition and learning everything they can about it.

- Harbingers: Representatives of the coalition that has been formed by the "darker" or less-represented or (as some might claim) misunderstood Immortals: Balastrossa, Aranas, Malfant, Bathal, Hesutu, Kurn, Yru, Ujaeio. (Not the Blood God - his people seem to want to do their thing on their own.) Their primary purpose is to spread the knowledge and influence of their patron Immortals. Many of said patrons have an affinity for nether so they may occasionally work to establish a greater presence of the nether in certain places, and while this is not a primary goal, individuals who have a problem with this need not apply. They do not like the Prime Immortals (Vandin, Iarel, Undm, Vodr) or the Immortals typically allied or affiliated with them (and the feeling is mutual). The Prime Immortals and their allies have taken efforts to keep themselves on top while attempting to keep these "Harbinger Immortals" down, out of the conscious thoughts of mortals, starved of sustaining acknowledgment and worship. They do not like the anti-nethrim Society (and the feeling is mutual). NOTE: A CHARACTER DOES NOT NEED TO BE A MEMBER OF THIS SOCIETY TO BE ALIGNED WITH OR DEDICATED TO ONE OF THE DARKER IMMORTALS! Be a Tse Gaiyan Hesutu adherent, or a Wyrvardn Bathal adherent, or a Shady Society Ujaeio adherent, or a Monster Slayer Kurn adherent. Or a completely-Society-less Dark-Immortal-Of-Your-Choice adherent! That's perfectly fine.

- The Shady Sneaky Society (Real name pending): There are rumors of a shadowy underground crime syndicate that has influence throughout the Lost Lands, uniting organized crime chapters in most every major settlement therein. Most write it off as little more than a particularly organized gang of thieves, thugs, and assorted criminals. The occasional theory pops up however claiming there is a greater organization to it all that is doing its own part to regulate crime and in its own way promote stability in the Lost Lands that would otherwise have devolved into complete chaos and ruin brought about by unfettered crime and brigandry overwhelming the few remaining pockets of civilization in a post-apocalyptic world. Few buy into this theory and see it as a shallow and convenient justification for the crimes these groups commit and facilitate. It does seem to make a certain amount of sense however that a criminal enterprise (and the fortunes of its members) can only survive in the long term if it has a stable long-term civilization in which it can thrive.

- The Anti-Nethrim Society (Real name pending): Committed to the purging or at least containment of the widespread outbreak of nether-corruption in the Lost Lands, with powerful representatives of various Immortals backing the cause: Aphraen, Vandin, Undm, Serafina, Iarel, Bogvaskr, Vodr, Nereia, Naia. They are not blind zealots and bloodthirsty inquisitors: their target is the nether itself, not necessarily its practitioners. They do of course need to keep an eye on said practitioners and deal with the ones that refuse to stop exacerbating the greater problem that is causing more and more of the Lost Lands to be corrupted by the nether. They do not like the Harbingers or their patron Immortals (and the feeling is mutual). As with the note in the Harbingers entry: A character do not need to be a member of this Society to be aligned with or dedicated to one of the listed supporting Immortals!

- The Monster Slayers (Real name pending): Infested and nethrim aren't the only dangerous creatures running rampant in the Lost Lands: The Monster Slayers are dedicated to keeping the more dangerous and violent beasts in check, their members studying the habits, strengths, and weaknesses of these monsters to better hunt them and potentially utilize the various resources that these monsters might provide, from their hides to their humours. A few of the leaders of this group are powerful druids or adherents of powerful primal entities, or of Immortals with an affinity or interest in such, such as Bogvaskr or Kurn. They often make a sport of their jobs and tasks, hosting hunting competitions and maintaining records boards and the like. Some members adhere to a philosophy taught by Bogvaskr and the Dwaedn Wyr, which is striving for continual improvement through ever-increasing combat challenges, and the belief that even the spirits of the slain will maintain some of the knowledge they gained in the battle to be passed on to their next manifestation. This means improvement for both the victor and the defeated, even in death - a method of mutually beneficial evolution regardless of the outcome.

- The Ascetic's Path: Hosted by the local chapter of the Church of Light, this small but dedicated group of individuals are committed to adhering to a path of strict asceticism based heavily upon the Edict of St.Vito. Those walking the Ascetic's Path attempt to achieve a heightened level of inner peace while supporting the aims of the Church, being the promotion of compassion, charity, and self-reliance in the people of the Lost Lands, as well as the general well-being of the people. Those with an aptitude for combat are also called upon to protect the defenseless and help keep the rampant nethrim of the Lost Lands in check while at the same time maintaining a mindfulness of when it is and is not appropriate to resort to violence and bloodshed, and are expected to adhere to the old code once upheld by the lost Knights Templar. All adherents must take a vow of poverty that severely limits possessions, acceptable apparel/gear appearance and materials, and accumulation of wealth. This Society is for those few who miss the roleplay, INCLUDING the rigid strictness, of the old Church guilds from CLOK. It is deliberately set up to be especially strict and limiting, and its restrictions are expected to be applied to a character's actual RP and gameplay practice rather than just being regarded as handwaved background fluff lore. Membership in this one will be limited and recruits will be vetted and reached out to - this is not an "ask to join and you're in" Society. They may potentially recruit from other Societies if an individual seems like the right fit. For clarity: These are the rare individuals who WANT to specifically dedicate to a NICHE EXTREME DISCIPLINE RP THAT WILL AT TIMES BE DIFFICULT AND POTENTIALLY FRUSTRATING TO BEHAVE WITHIN. Members will feel and *be* judged, both by NPCs overseeing the Society as well as people outside the Society who know about its rules and codes that members are supposed to be adhering to. A character does NOT need to be in this Society to consider themselves a Church of Light or Serafina-aligned character. THEY WILL NOT BE GETTING HEALING LASERS! If a player wants to play a healer character, THIS IS NOT IT: BE A PHYSICKER! If a player wants the RP feel AND restrictive disciplined monastic-like lifestyle of old Monks/Templar from CLOK (under my iron-fisted regime; I don't know how it was after I left), this MIGHT be for them, but IT IS NOT JUST A PORT OF THOSE THINGS. If a player wants all the abilities of old Monks/Templar from CLOK, THIS IS NOT IT! If a player wants to walk into a training room and pick up Thaumaturgy and some Thaumaturgy abilities, THIS IS NOT IT! If this sounds like all the RP effort of CLOK Monks/Templar but without the significant power payout, that's because it more or less is. If that sounds unappealing, stay away from this one. I'm not expecting much overall interest in this one, and that's okay. It's extremely niche, but it's near and dear enough to my heart as well as to the hearts of a few CLOK veterans who opined that they'd love to have it around in some form again that I'm doing this one anyway, and I hope we get at least one or two new people who are interested in it too so it can get some new life and not feel like it's just some dim relic of the past.

SORRY ABOUT ALL THE CAPS BUT I FELT THE EXTRA EMPHASIS WAS NECESSARY. Moving on ...

I'd also like to make a plea: Please only plan to join a Society if your character is sufficiently aligned with that Society *as that Society already stands*. Please do not deliberately make plans to join as an ironic recruit, or an against-the-grain boat-rocker, or a secret infiltrator, or someone who's going to effect broad sweeping changes in the system. These Societies will not hesitate to kick out members that do not appear to actually support their cause or their ideals, to say nothing of those going against them (even if subtly). In some cases, this could lead to consequences as bad as losing the ability to play that character anymore. (I would especially not recommend joining Harbingers or the Shady Society and then giving them reason to want to be rid of that character. That may well bring on consequences that makes a character non-viable for further play.)

Some examples of bad reason to join a Society:

- Joining the Monster Slayers to try and convince them to stop violence against the monsters they're hunting.
- Joining the Harbingers as a secret double agent with plans to betray/inform on them to their enemies.
- Joining the Anti-Nethrim Society to try and convince them that the nether is not the real enemy or is not really bad or can be coexisted with just fine as it is.
- Joining Tse Gaiyan to try and stop them from physically fighting the infested because there's some purportedly better non-violent way of dealing with the issue.
- Joining the Shady Society to ferret out their secrets and information and then expose them (or just share the secrets with non-member friends).
- Joining the Ascetics to then try and convince them that their ways are too strict and extreme and should be eased up on.
- Joining any Society with a planned arc to eventually betray/double-cross/expose/get kicked out of/have a "fall from grace".
- In general, joining a Society that a character (or their player) thinks needs to be changed.

All the above could be neat as parts of a story in a book or a show or a movie or whatnot where the narrative is carefully crafted and controlled with an arc in mind and a specific destination to end up at. In this setting, however, there are no plans to support players who want to sabotage or take down or make some broad sweeping change in these Societies. It wouldn't be fair to discard the plans and the intended roleplay/gameplay roles of these societies on the independent and unplanned initiative of a player character who decides they want to shake things up at the expense of everyone else who joined the Societies in earnest support of their causes. Thus, the result would be little more than frustration for the player and the GMs alike for a situation that isn't going to actually go anywhere and gets the player character into trouble.

On the other hand, much of the above can be done *without* joining the specific societies. Feel free to try and spread the idea that the Monster Slayers are being unnecessarily violent and cruel to the beasts they hunt. Become trusted with some Harbingers to try and get some useful info from them about their Society that can then be passed on to their enemies to be used against those scary people and their spooky Immortal patrons. Shout over the pendants that Tse Gaiyan is being too aggressive against the resen and that they should just study the infested from a distance without going in and killing infested people/creatures that really have no control over their own actions. Debate with Ascetics about how they're really just brainwashed extremists. None of the Societies are meant to be perfect or flawless or incontestable. Just don't try to do it from *within* those societies - because that's going to get that member kicked out, and now they've lost that character's Society membership opportunity for good, and harmful drama both IC and OOC is likely to ensue.

So please: Only have a character join a Society if that character seems like they would genuinely fit with and support that Society as it's already established to be. It's okay to seek a degree of change or improvement within one's own Society, but acting or speaking out significantly counter to their established goals and/or methods will not be supported and we don't want to see that kind of thing happening because it's just not going to go well.

Lastly: There may be more Societies added in the future. I don't much like the idea of "Society rerolls" so that won't likely be a possibility when new ones are introduced. I say this to emphasise that players should not have their characters join a Society if it doesn't feel like it's a great fit for that character. Don't get peer pressured into it, don't join it out of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), don't join it just because a bunch of that character's friends did, don't join it just because it's the least-bad of the current available options for that character, don't join it if it feels like additional rationalizations or justifications or roleplay adjustments have to be made in order to make it feel right for a character. Societies shouldn't be joined because they're there, they should be joined because a character fits them well. If no Society seems like a good fit, don't join any of them. Being Society-less will be perfectly viable gameplay-wise. While Societies are meant to provide some additional roleplay and motivation opportunity, they're going to effectively be the opposite of that for characters that joined despite not feeling like they're a good fit because it's all going to feel forced and wrong.
<Rias> PUT ON PANTS
<Fellborn> NO
User avatar
Lexx416
Posts: 432
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:14 pm

Re: On Societies

Post by Lexx416 »

Glad to see there's a lot of thought going into Societies! I don't know that any of them will suit Mack, but I'm excited to see how these societies exist in the world, and interact with everything else we have going on. :)
"You hear the Woses, the Wild Men of the Woods... Remnants of an older time they be, living few and secretly, wild and wary as beasts."
User avatar
Candelori
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:29 pm

Re: On Societies

Post by Candelori »

It is very encouraging to see the Ascetic's Path listed with the rest. I'm curious to know how often these Societies might work together toward shared goals. I imagine the Ascetics could be well acquainted with the Anti-Nethrim or perhaps the Wyrvardn.
You think to yourself, "I am tempted to henceforth refer to this as the Bicker Board."
You experience a sudden flash of insight, as though you have an increased understanding of who you are.
silly
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:39 am

Re: On Societies

Post by silly »

How do you feel about a character belonging to one society, but having good enough relations with another that they sometimes join in with some of their activities? I refer to combat, mostly, and only the sorts of things that they would be open about doing. Not so much the stuff that they'd keep private, unless you are alright with people eventually finding out a thing or two if rp goes on for long enough?

I don't see the ones that I have in mind having opposing motives, either.
Using your hands, you work at washing a wash basin at a wash basin.
A wash basin is now clean.
artus
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2021 7:43 am

Re: On Societies

Post by artus »

Just to ask for clarification here: does assisting lucid infested for their cause for lucidity or refusing to engage in a lot of senseless fighting count as going against Tse Gaiyan code? Not like 0% fight but more oh I'm not going out all day to do that just because I'm a Gaiyan and I can.
I'm trying to be careful here with Arty and his stand on Resen now and I don't want to end up unknowingly breaking the game because he's somewhat of a peacemaker when it comes to Resen and those affected by it but ready to draw a bow if they're really out of hand. Some of the description gives me a sort of impression that you have to be forced into combat, a lot, which is alright, but you also have to, if not must, do a lot of it too even when you're not forced into it. I may get the wrong impression though.
Kismet
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2023 8:28 pm

Re: On Societies

Post by Kismet »

I'm a little worried about society choice being permanent, especially since they're not all out yet. Multiple societies can resonate with one character and it would be crummy to join one society just to have something perfect get rolled out three months later.
User avatar
Rias
DEV
Posts: 1617
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:06 pm
Location: Wandering Temicotli

Re: On Societies

Post by Rias »

Some of the Societies are bound to have shared goals at times and work with each other. Members of these Societies aren't expected to be exclusive or elitist or anything and should generally be happy to assist or be assisted by other Societies with overlapping goals. There's no reason members of Tse Gaiyan and Wyrvardn, for instance, can't be helping each other out with overlapping goals. The Ascetics would indeed fit well alongside the Wyrvardn and Anti-Nethrim on many of their goals and tasks, and I'm sure the different Societies would be pleased to see their members willing to work together for better results. The Societies have their own more specialised goals and focuses, and some of those overlap to a degree, but they're not competitors. Tse Gaiyan aren't going to refuse to deal with nethrim or Liberi just because they're not infested. They are however glad that there are the Anti-Nethrim and the Wyrvardn out there who are focusing on those particular issues so that they (Tse Gaiyan) can then effectively focus on the infested.

Thinking about that is giving me flashbacks to Guild Wars 2, where you had to pick one of 3 orders to join, and they were always bickering and arguing and insisting the others stay out of their way so they could handle things themselves and show that they were superior. I found that obnoxious and that's not what I want for these Societies. The more combat-focused ones are generally glad the other combat-focused Societies are out there with each taking care of their particular areas of expertise to try and make the Lost Lands safer from the various threats and dangers. They tend to cooperate, not compete.

Of course, Societies with goals that are more likely to counter one another are not going to get along well and their members buddying up will raise some concerns. Anti-Nethrim and Harbingers, or to a lesser degree Wyrvardn and Shady Society, for example. This doesn't mean their members are required to be hostile or enemies (though it's fairly expected with the the first example), but care should definitely be taken in any such relationships forming between members of counter-societies.

Regarding Tse Gaiyan and their approach to dealing with the infested: I think it's safe to say that Tse Gaiyan encourages critical thinking and expects their members to address each situation as its own with any intricacies or nuances to be considered. The rampant infested need to be kept in check, and the best (sometimes only) way to do that is often through simple violence. But if a situation seems different than usual, it would indeed be a good idea for a member of Tse Gaiyan to hold back the violence a moment to better assess what is going on. Lucid infested are of great interest to Tse Gaiyan, and provided this lucid infested isn't being a massive threat or terror they'd likely prefer to observe, get information from, study, and potentially even work with them rather than put them in the ground. Extreme caution will be taken of course, as part of the whole infested thing is that the infested hosts don't necessarily have control or know what they're doing, so deceit and subterfuge on the part of the resen-infestation are always something to be wary of. (They would make great sleeper agents!) Be willing to think and consider, apply your best judgment, report anything unusual and resulting actions being taken. There are bound to be some Tse Gaiyan members that just go straight to "I see infested, I stab it with my sword" with no other consideration, but these members are not going to be assigned to situations that seem like they might require critical thinking and judgment calls, and are going to get into trouble with the Society if they end up messing up opportunities to learn more about the resen.

Regarding the possibility of some new Society coming up later that ends up being better and so a person who joined a previous one is locked out: I wouldn't count on many more Societies showing up, and there may well not be any new additions ever. I just mention the possibility that it might happen to keep future options open, but I'm already feeling pretty overwhelmed with just the ones we already have listed here. If none of the current Societies listed feel like they'd be something that would provide long-term satisfaction for a character to the point there's a worry that something much better might pop up in the future, that might be an indication that none of the Societies are a good fit for the character and in such a case it's fine to just not join any of them. It's still possible to show support for them and occasionally work with their members without being a member oneself.
<Rias> PUT ON PANTS
<Fellborn> NO
Kismet
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2023 8:28 pm

Re: On Societies

Post by Kismet »

Can you go into more detail about the Ascetic's path for people who didn't play the first game? Are we talking "Maybe you shouldn't spend 200k on that ball gown while there are hungry people" ascetics or "Here's your brown burlap robe, meditation is from 6:30 am until nightfall" ascetics?
User avatar
Rias
DEV
Posts: 1617
Joined: Sun Sep 03, 2017 4:06 pm
Location: Wandering Temicotli

Re: On Societies

Post by Rias »

There'll be some info on the specifics when I write up their document, since I'm on those for all the Societies right now. You did leave plenty of room between those two extremes, though! Someone under a vow of poverty (even a "reasonable" one) obviously shouldn't have 200k to spend on a ballgown let alone the desire to have said expensive ballgown, but spending all day meditating wouldn't leave much time for promoting compassion, charity, and self-reliance among the people of the Lost Lands, defending the helpless, or taking the fight to the soul-corrupting nethrim. We do want players of the Ascetics to be able to get up to things in the game beyond quiet meditation and self-reflection RP. Roleplaying the journey of striving for inner peace (and RPing that as a struggle is perfectly acceptable and even appropriate) is an important part of it, but so is having a positive impact on mankind, and that can't be done if one is only ever focusing on oneself. I recently had a conversation about just this with another aspiring Ascetic, so it's good to get the details worked out!

P.S. Ascetics are not trying to "convert" anyone. They and the Church of Light are well aware that there are many different paths to self-improvement as well as making a positive impact on the world around them. They're just trying to quietly make the world a better place for mankind and they don't feel pushing their own lifestyle on others is required to do that. The Ascetic's Path is just their own specific program that may work for those who are interested in it, and they acknowledge that it's not for everyone, or even for most people.
<Rias> PUT ON PANTS
<Fellborn> NO
Post Reply